Josh Langley

Masking.

I always thought that masking was something exclusive to autistic people, girls in particular, where they mask or hide their autistic traits to fit in and adapt to societal norms.

However, in my travels, I’ve discovered that masking also applies to other areas too, especially childhood trauma. I see it in my own life.

I was always the happy go lucky kid growing up, with lots of friends, pretending that everything was fine and normal at home. However, I never shared what was happening with my parents’ destructive relationship and how it was affecting my brother and me. I didn’t want to draw any attention to what happening in case I upset someone or caused trouble. I was scared.

There wasn’t any space to honour your own feelings, so you ignored them. Even when I hit rock bottom at 15, I still didn’t want to cause any trouble, so I swallowed my emotions.

And when you look back, it’s easy to question yourself. Did it really happen that way? Have I made it all up? Because I wasn’t able to honour how I really felt, I became detached from my emotions. They weren’t mine anymore. I didn’t know how to relate to them.

This is one of the (many) reasons why I talk about emotions and feelings so much now. My parents didn’t know any better at the time and had their own crappy upbringings, so it’s no wonder that their issues became my issues. Feelings were merely outwardly expressed, never understood, or acknowledged in a supportive way.  

But it stops here. The masking stops. The pretending stops. The trauma stops.

My feelings are real. Your feelings are real. Our kid’s feelings are real.

Let’s keep our feelings real.

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